Reality According to People (A Seminar to Learn Academic Thinking)

Alexandra Lehmann*, Department of Psychology, Protestant University of Applied Sciences, Bochum, Germany

Elke Hemminger, Department of Sociology, Protestant University of Applied Sciences, Bochum, Germany


Beginning their course of study at university confronts students with many challenges, such as to test theories concerning their plausibility and credibility. The internet, with its wide variety on information, complicates this survey process, while reports of “fake science“ increase the uncertainty. In our seminar, we address this topic for first-semester students in Social Work Studies by asking the following questions: What is “reality“? How do we individually construct our world? How does communication between people with different experiences (hence realities) work? Based on sociological and psychological theories, students are asked to test their own perceptions of specific social questions (e.g. gender, demographic change, poverty), and in the process are confronted both with different perspectives on these topics and with the particular evolutionary history and effects.

Keywords: analytic thinking, academic thinking, epistemology

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